Gary crowned club champion for third time

CROMPTON and Royton golfer Gary Melling has completed a hat-trick of wins in Crompton and Royton’s club championship.

The 47-year-old, who has taught PE at Saddleworth School for 21 years, added to his previous successes of 2016 and 2019.

With an impressive handicap of plus two Gary, who remains one of the area’s top players, continues to prove that age is no barrier.

Gross scores of 68 and 76 for a four-over-par 144 secured a two-stroke victory over defending champion Jack Barnes.

Gary mixed four birdies with two bogeys in his opening round before struggling to a 76 in more difficult conditions for his final 18 holes.

Gary and Daniel Melling

Jack, his playing partner, mounted a comeback after an opening 75 with a second round 71 which included a hole-in-one at the short fourth to apply the pressure and set up a tense finale with the scores tied as the contest entered the last three holes.

Three solid pars over the closing stretch proved enough for Gary as Jack had to settle for the runners-up spot.

Gary has now won at least one major honour at the High Barn club in each of the past four decades.

Next up will be the Oldham District Championship on July 3 at Brookdale where he will be looking for a fourth victory in this event having registered previous wins in 1990 (at Brookdale as a 16-year-old) and in 1997 and 2017 at his home club.

Gary will be joined in that event by his son Daniel who has a busy schedule as he then makes his county debut for Lancashire U15s against Durham at Houghton-Le-Springs on Monday, July 5.

Daniel, 14, a Year 9 pupil at Crompton House School, has a handicap of five and already has four junior major wins to his name having first taken up the game aged 10.

Daniel has dual membership at Crompton and Royton and Hillside and aims to emulate his grandad David Melling and ultimately turn professional.

He currently lies second in the men’s season long Howard Trophy at Crompton and Royton with nett scores of 68, 69, 69, 69, 72 and 72 for a one-under-par 419.

Daniel is hoping his consistency will stand him in good stead for the remainder of the season as he aims to surpass his dad’s record as the youngest ever winner of a men’s major at Crompton and Royton.

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